So you’ve decided to compete. Why not? It’s a great way to test your technical knowledge as well as your physical and mental strength. Every dedicated martial artist will want to compete at least once in his/her journey, so why shouldn’t you?
“I can’t compete because I don’t have time.”
For those of us with busy schedules, making time to train for competition could be tricky. Whether it’s because we’re under a lot of stress at work, caring for a newborn or studying for exams, it could be hard to get even regular training time in. And competition training is on a whole other level – but is it possible?
If you want something bad enough, you’ll make time for competition training. Yes, you can do it even if you have all those deadlines and meetings — all you need to do is to be creative about it. Here’s 8 Ways To Fit Competition Training Into Your Busy Schedule:
1) Make the most of class time
How many times have you attended class and forgotten about the techniques you’ve learned? How about the warm-ups – are you really doing them or is your mind someplace else? Are you intentionally avoiding tough spars?
If your answer is “yes” to all of the above, then maybe you should reconsider your decision to compete. You need to make the most of all the class time you have because with a busy schedule, it’s probably not much. You want to make sure you’re truly present during each session and doing your best to maximize your limited time.
2) Have a plan and stick to it
As a competitor, you need a solid plan, especially with your limited training time. And we don’t just mean a game plan – we mean that you should plan out your training camp in such a way that you would be completely prepared for competition regardless of your time handicap.
Think about your schedule – is that extra meeting truly essential? Are you making the most of your time at work, or are you procrastinating? When you’ve figured out your schedule, you can plan out how many times a week you can attend class, if you can squeeze in a strength and conditioning class or add in some running time to build cardiovascular endurance. All these are essential if you want to compete.
If you need to cut weight, you need to plan this out well too. Think about meal prepping or scour your work area for healthier restaurant options. Take the amount of weight you have to lose into consideration and decide if you have the time and the discipline to stick to your diet.
3) Think about it
Making the decision to compete isn’t something you should do on a whim. It needs to be carefully thought out, taking your work and social life into consideration. It’s one thing to be a professional competitor whose job revolves around training and it’s another to come into competition with other responsibilities on your plate.
Competition is no joke. You’ll be facing the best people in your weight and age division, and sometimes, they are professional competitors. In fact, most of the time, your trainers/coaches will persuade you not to compete if you have limited time to train. This is because they only want the best outcome for you. However, if they see that you are dedicated enough, they will be less reluctant.
4) Get ample rest
One of the biggest mistakes competitors make is not having enough rest. Your body needs time to heal and repair itself, and if you constantly subject it to abuse, you’ll certainly be more prone to injury. Because you’re training for competition on a busy schedule, there may be some weeks when you train non-stop and some when you don’t get to train at all. Regardless, you need ample time to rest and recover so you can show up feeling 100% on competition day.
5) Make all spars competition specific
After speaking to your coach about your game plan and your decision to compete, you must take every opportunity to practice your game plan. The best time to do this is during sparring, where you can truly put your techniques to the test. Sparring is basically simulated competition, only you won’t get a medal in the end if you win a spar and you don’t get to do it in front of an audience (most of the time).
6) Speak to your professor/coach about your game plan
Your coach/trainer/professor is the only person who can best advise you on how to come up with a game plan for competition. He/she knows your strengths and weaknesses, both in techniques and as a potential competitor. He/she will help you formulate a plan that would give you the best odds in a competition based on these.
7) Make the most of any free time you have
This is when you have to get the most creative. Have only 15 minutes to spare? Get some specific drilling in to make sure you’ve got your game plan down pat. Not an early riser? Perhaps it’s time to start waking up early to make more time for training. Spending too much time commuting? Take this time to look at your training journal – perhaps there’s something else you could add to your game plan.
For ONE FC Welterweight World Champion and former Bellator Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren, visualization is one of the keys to his success as an athlete. From the time he was wrestling at the University of Missouri, he would picture his matches in his head and play them out in every scenario possible. Visualization is essential for every competitor, especially for a competitor on a busy schedule. Visualization requires you to constantly imagine yourself finding ways to accomplish your goals — which you can do anyplace or anytime. The more you visualize yourself successfully executing your gameplan, there’s no doubt that this would help you achieve your dream of winning a competition.
If there’s a will, there’s a way. If competing is important to you, you will find time to train for competition. So go forth and train hard!